Few buzzy beauty phrases will grab your attention like "highlight, sculpt, and glow." While several highlighting trends are floating around the internet, one, in particular, caught our attention—microhighlighting. Known as the "Dream Girl" highlighting technique on TikTok (where it has gone viral), microhighlighting lifts the face in all the right places and takes minimal steps to re-create.
Ahead, with the help of pro makeup artist Shaina Ehrlich, we've taken a deeper look at this trend and provided you with an easy-to-follow guide on how to get the look. Read on for more.
Meet the Expert
Shaina Ehrlich is a professional makeup artist based in New York City.
What Exactly Is Microhighlighting?
Deemed the "Dream Girl" highlighting technique after going viral on TikTok, microhighlighting is essentially a highlighting technique that helps the face appear more lifted. While most microhighlighters use a white pencil to get the look, you can use other products.
How to Achieve the Look
You can use cream or liquid highlighters or concealer to create a microhighlighted look. It's important to note that white won't work for everyone, and you can totally use a shade that compliments your skin tone instead. If you prefer a matte look, you can use pencils one to two shades lighter than your natural skin tone to highlight without shimmer, or you can opt for a concealer. Prefer a mix of both matte and glow? Use concealer where you want the finish to be matte and highlighter in areas you want more shimmer and shine. There are no concrete rules—it's all about what makes you feel and look your best. Test a few shades in varying finishes to see which ones work best; Get creative and have some fun with it.
Map it Out
After you've applied your foundation, contour, and/or bronzer, you can map out the areas you want to microhighlight on the face. "For a microhighlight, I would suggest cream highlighters," Ehrlich says. "I prefer the Westman Atelier Lit Up Glow Highlighter Stick ($48). It’s so creamy, comes in versatile shades, and makes you look like you just got out of a sauna (in a good way)."
Start by placing the highlighter in the inner corners of the eyes, under the brow, down the nose, and in an upward motion at the corner of the mouth. You can also place a highlighter at the outer corners of the eyes and anywhere else you might want to create a lift.
The cool thing about microhighlighting is you can tailor it to your specific needs. "Microhighlighting, to me, is highlighting places you wouldn’t think to highlight traditionally—I love to microhighlight the middle of my eyelid with a little cream highlighter or powder," says Ehrlich. "This brightens my eyes in a more subtle way, especially if I am not wearing a lot of makeup that day." Brilliant.
Blend and Set
Whether you use your fingers, makeup brushes, or a sponge, it's important to note that the product needs to be blended well, so utilize whichever tools will give you the best results. "When I blend, I usually use my hands—I warm up my fingers or even the palms of my hands and press the product into my skin, so it looks more lived in," says Ehrlich. "I think that’s the key to microhighlight."
That said, sometimes Ehrlich will use a brush, "preferably a duo fiber brush like the 187S Duo Fiber Face Brush from MAC ($46)," she says. "I spray some Evian Facial Spray ($17) onto the brush, and I will stipple that all over the face to again give a softer look, so the microhighlight appears to be a natural part of the skin."
If you're using concealer or pencil, you might find that brushes or sponges work best to blend. It all depends on the consistency and texture of the product. If you want your face to look extra snatched, do a pre-makeup treatment with a device such as the Age-R Derma EMS Shot from Medicube ($280), which can help improve the appearance of the contour and lift of facial features.
Before setting your makeup, survey your work and see if anything needs a little extra blending. Then you can apply a setting spray like the Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix Hydrating Setting Spray ($29), which will lock in your hard work and keep your makeup smudge-free throughout the day (and night).
Since I prefer a mix of matte and shimmery finishes, I mixed two products when re-creating this at home. First, I started with Rodial Banana Lowlighter ($45) and placed that under my brow, at the outer corners of my eyes, a generous amount down my nose, and from the corners of my mouth. I then applied Charlotte Tilbury's Beauty Light Wand Easy Highlighter in the shade Spotlight ($42), which has a shimmery finish, above my cheekbones and in the center of my lids. I chose to microhighlight the center of my lids versus the inner corners as a matter of preference: These are the areas on my face where I wanted to see a lift.
I then blended in both products with one of my favorite brushes, Anisa Beauty's Angled Concealer Brush ($28), to ensure everything looked natural, then applied a light lip color and touched up my cream blush.